[State Senator Malcolm] Smith's Hooters excursion was one of several not- obviously- campaign- related ways in which state lawmakers used campaign money in the first half of the year, the spending records show.
Tens of thousands of dollars were spent on dinners, flowers, baseball games and even parking tickets.
"Basically, campaign contributions can be used to subsidize the lifestyle of lawmakers," said Blair Horner, the legislative director at the New York Public Interest Research Group. "So few of them face serious political opposition, so they just spend it."
Sen. Carl Kruger, a Brooklyn Democrat, spent $1,888.97 at Italian Tile and Design on Coney Island Ave. His spokesman, Jason Koppel, said the money bought ceramic floor tile for the senator's district office.
"It was an older floor and it needed to be replaced," Koppel said. "The safety of our constituents is important."
Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell IV's campaign expenses included $97.20 to rent a tuxedo for a black-tie dinner and $117 for parking tickets.
"It's only fair," the Harlem Democrat said about the parking ticket reimbursement. "It's not on personal business. It's on official business or campaign business."
Campaign cash used to fund good times